Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Waging The Patriot's War - 93%

dystopia4, October 5th, 2016

Quebec easily has one of the best black metal scenes in the world and it shows no signs of slowing down. Perhaps no release is more important to the province's vibrant black metal stronghold than Forteresse's seminal debut Métal Noir Québécois. The album laid down a solid outline of what QCBM was generally about - icy atmosphere, rolling tremolo with a melodic edge, a foundation informed but not loyal to the second wave and no shortage of nationalist/separatist sentiment. The debut sounded relatively samey, but Forteresse excels at making albums with little variation. Blast beats rumbled, ice-cold tremolo rolled across the soundscape like massive hills roll along Quebec's landscape and melody lingered. Since then, Forteresse has opted to explore the more ambient and folky facets of black metal to varying results. While the old timey Quebecois folk music samples are long gone,Thèmes Pour la Rébellion is a triumphant return to form.

Thèmes Pour la Rébellion is conceptually centered around the ultimately unsuccessful Lower Canada Rebellion (also known as the Patriot's War) of 1837-38 in which Lower Canada (previously known as New France and currently known as Quebec) attempted to attain sovereignty. History is a theme that I find works very well with metal, and it's always exciting to see it in the context of my own country - and the friction with Quebec is easily one of the most interesting parts of Canadian history, which frankly can be quite boring at times. A return to the more violent and triumphant sounds of the debut is perfectly fitting considering this album's bloody themes. I always love when the cover art perfectly encapsulates the atmosphere of the album, and this serves as a prime example. The triumphantly melodic yet sharp and violent riffs are quite cinematic, and conjure images of towns set ablaze and bitter conflict.

This opus is quite similar throughout, but don't think for a second that this is a drawback. Like Métal Noir Québécois, Thèmes features an exceptionally consistent sound, and the sound here is quite similar to their aforementioned debut, albeit slightly updated and featuring a somewhat less raw (although still very potent) production. Big rolling anthemic riffs are in great abundance, grounded in a wallop of ice-cold tremolo. The drums stick mainly to blasting, and while this little variety would usually bother me a bit, Forteresse do their one thing so well that they need not deviate from their template. The defiant rasps are strong and echo the triumphant vigour of the riffs. If there is one instance of them deviating from the formula, it is the outro "Le Dernier Voyage". The lush wintry atmospherics remind of the non-metal sections in Immortal's At the Heart of Winter. If there is one nitpicky and pedantic gripe I have about the album, it's the sample of a documentary related to the album's theme. Yes, it is obviously very relevant to the subject matter, but it disrupts the flow of the album. I used to live in Quebec, and my computer still gets Youtube adds in French from time to time, and the first time I listened to this on the full album Youtube stream I actually thought I was getting another one of these French adds.

An astonishing return to form, Thèmes Pour la Rébellion stands second only to their masterpiece debut Métal Noir Québécois. It feels in many ways a sequel to their magnum opus; while it's definitely not Métal Noir Québécois II, their debut's sound provides the foundation this album uses to flourish. Their folky and ambient leaning albums are all well and good, but hearty repetitive black metal with big melodies and bigger riffs is where they truly burn brighter than the village in the cover art.